INSPIRATIONAL: Worksop war heroes awarded France’s highest honour for liberating country during WWII

Legion D'Honneur Presentation at Retford Town Hall, pictured from left are MP John Mann, French Consul Jean-Claude Lafontaine, Geoff Lister, Alan Harvey, Ken Beard and Retford Town Mayor Coun Alan Chambers
Legion D'Honneur Presentation at Retford Town Hall, pictured from left are MP John Mann, French Consul Jean-Claude Lafontaine, Geoff Lister, Alan Harvey, Ken Beard and Retford Town Mayor Coun Alan Chambers

Three Worksop war heroes were officially presented with Legion d’honneur medals on behalf of the French President last week.

Veterans 93-year-old Ken Beard and 91-year-old Alan Harvey, from Worksop, and Geoff Lister, 89, from Retford, were presented with the medals by French Consul Jean Claude La Fontaine at Retford Town Hall.

The ceremony, which was jointly organised the Royal British Legion and MP for Bassetlaw John Mann, took place on Friday, November 20 at 2pm.

Now knights of the French Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur, the veternans were awarded the accolades due to their role in liberating France from German occupation in the Second World War.

Ken was in the Royal Air Force whereas both Alan and Geoff landed on the beaches during the D-day bombings.

Mr Mann said: “These three men fought during World War Two to liberate France and selflessly put their lives on the line in order to free a nation under occupation, but also fought to protect and defend our freedoms at home in Britain.

“Those awarded this medal are incredibly brave and thoroughly deserve our respect and I am delighted that Ken, Geoff and Alan have been awarded the Legion d’honneur from the French President.

“We are all incredibly proud of them and indeed all those veterans who have fought for their country, past and present”.

Ken Beard told the Guardian: “I am very proud to be a knight of the Légion d’honneur.

“Being in the RAF was obviously a very dangerous occupation but it is something that still fascinates me to this day.”

A one minute silence was held before the ceremony as a mark of respect to remember the victims of the Paris attacks earlier this month.